Clyburn Backs ‘Mini-Primary’ If Biden Steps Down

Rep. Jim Clyburn, a prominent supporter of President Joe Biden, suggested on Wednesday that a “mini-primary” could take place if Biden decides to exit the 2024 race. This would involve Vice President Kamala Harris and various Democratic governors competing for the nomination before the Democratic National Convention.

When asked by CNN about the possibility of Harris automatically becoming the nominee or if a primary would be needed, Clyburn responded, “Well, I think we’re going to have a mini-primary leading into the convention. You can actually fashion the process that’s already in place to make it a mini-primary, and I would support that absolutely. We can’t close that down, and we should open up everything for the general election.”

A spokesperson for Clyburn later clarified to Politico that he was answering a hypothetical question and not suggesting that a mini-primary would definitely happen. “It is quite obvious that Congressman Clyburn was responding to a hypothetical question,” said spokesperson Brianna Frias. “He was not calling for a ‘mini-primary.’ Instead, he was explaining the existing process. The Congressman fully supports President Biden at the top of the ticket and it would be irresponsible to report anything otherwise.”

Speculation about Biden’s potential withdrawal from the race has been fueled by his recent debate performance, where he appeared less energetic and struggled with his speech. Many Democrats are questioning who would be the nominee if Biden steps aside, given that Harris’s poll numbers have sometimes been worse than Biden’s. This uncertainty adds to the challenges facing the Democratic Party.

Clyburn, instrumental in Biden’s 2020 election win, acknowledged the concerns about Biden’s performance, describing it as “concerning.” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre addressed these concerns, emphasizing Biden’s acknowledgment of his aging. “We get what Americans are feeling. That’s why [Biden is] acknowledging he’s not a young man, that’s why he’s acknowledging he’s a little slower than he used to be in walking and not as smooth in speaking,” Jean-Pierre said.

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